Postpartum confinement is a chinese custom or traditions practised by Asian women for their recovery after childbirth. Also known as Zuo yue zi (做月子), postpartum confinement is an important period which mothers must rest and allow body to heal with time and nourishment. Even though it is tiring, but the 9 months of pregnancy should have been an indescribable experience for mums when baby is in the tummy. However, a new baby comes with lots of responsibility which can be very challenging during postpartum or post natal when mothers are physically exhausted after birth.
Mothers after giving birth may expect the following:
The first few days post delivery is likely to be full of excitement and exhaustion. However, lack of sleep and new responsibilities may affect emotions of mums. Professional help may be required if mums experience baby blues and postpartum depression. Having an elder especially your mother or experienced confinement nanny can be blissful. Family support plays a very important part in this healing process as well.
Back pain normally resolve within first 6 weeks after giving birth with assistance from back strengthening exercises and therapy. However, do seek your doctor’s guidance before embarking upon any physical activity especially for C-section.
At labour, mothers will feel pain and extreme pressure on every part of their body. They will need to endure this sore feeling which can persist for 4 to 8 weeks and even longer for Caesarean section or C-section. In order to recover fast, mums must have plenty of quality rest and avoid physical activities.
Breasts tend to look swollen, sore and engorged with milk after birth. A couple of days is required for swelling to subside. Expect to have saggy breasts due to stretched skin in the next three to four days and until breastfeeding is stopped. Extra milk tend to leak even if there is no breastfeeding.
Don’t be surprised if the stomach still look almost 9 months pregnant after labour. The uterus require six to eight weeks to shrink back to its pre natal size. Normal abdominal exercises, post natal massage and healthy diet can help mums get their tummy back in shape. In addition, linea nigra which is a dark vertical line that develops on the tummies during pregnancy, will disappear within a few months after childbirth. However, the stubborn stretch marks may remain if it is not taken care of.
Therefore, mums should relax, take care of yourself during postpartum confinement with more quality sleep, a balanced nutritious diet and drink plenty of fluids. TCM chinese confinement herbs, ginger is commonly used to remove ‘wind’ accumulated in the body during pregnancy. Getting help from experienced adult for postpartum care such as confinement nanny or yue sao with good hygiene practices and culinary skills is encouraged. Usually she has the knowledge of preparing special confinement meals such as pork knuckles, fish and papaya soup. Otherwise, confinement catering is another good alternative to take care of the daily meals and needed nourishment.